For Frank Lazzaro, getting into floral design was an accident, a stroke of luck. What started out as a makeshift Christmas decoration in the Army eventually landed him in the Oval Office at the White House serving as Christmas decorator for three presidents.
The former Mineola florist was serving at Fort Bragg, N.C. during the Vietnam War as supervisor of medical supplies in Womack Army Hospital when his boss made a request.
“I was in the military and my commanding officer needed a Christmas tree and some decorations,” Lazzaro said. “We had no money so we used Army socks and beer cans. We decorated a four-foot tree. My commanding officer said I should be decorating the general’s tree.”
The end of year holiday is the season of giving, when we are infused with the spirit of generosity, empathy for those in need and “good will to all” (not to mention a Dec. 31 tax deadline for deductions).
Unfortunately, this year the peak giving season is shorter than usual. The late Thanksgiving holiday truncated the number of fundraising weekends leading up to Christmas. That’s on top of a challenging macro-economic environment, and it is putting the squeeze on charities. Some local fundraisers have quietly indicated that they are worried about meeting year-end objectives.
The Mineola law firm of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein and Breitstone gave back to two Freeport youths this holiday season through the Family & Children’s Association’s “Adopt-a-Family” program. Supervisor of Office Services Stacey Harris and Office Manager Karen
Goldberg have worked with their colleagues at the firm and organized adoptions for the past several years.
The program matches donors with youth, families, and seniors in need of support both during this holiday season and throughout the year. Family & Children’s in Mineola has helped about 800 families over the past seven years of running the “adoption” program.
FCA’s Director of Marketing and Communications Joyce Mullen says “it’s heartwarming for both the donors and families benefiting from the program.”
A construction crane working on the new Winthrop-University Hospital diabetes research facility tipped over on Mineola Boulevard on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 12:40 p.m. The driver of the crane escaped as it fell between the rising building and Souvlaki Stop, according to village and fire department reps.
He suffered minor injuries to his legs and back as he fled the cab and a bruise to his head, according to Winthrop officials.
Mineola Boulevard was closed from Old Country Road to Harrison Avenue all day. Authorities said the Mineola Fire Department, which was on call for a dumpster fire prior to the crane fall, arrived within minutes of the incident.
Village of East Williston Trustee Christopher Siciliano recently met with representatives from the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), a New Jersey-based electric and gas company that will be taking over the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) effective January 1, 2014. They discussed what the village can expect following the transition.
Delivering a brief report at a village board meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, Siciliano said the meeting was productive and that he learned the village will have a liaison from PSEG to communicate with directly—at no cost to the village.
Christmas trees, poinsettias and tinsel. All three are signs that the holiday season is here and while they provide stunning visuals, they could pose harm to your furry little friends, says one Mineola veterinarian.
Pet safety during the holidays is crucial, according to Dr. Aaron Vine of Central Vets of Mineola. For Vine, the leading cause of increased trips to the vet after the holidays is chocolate and tinsel. He has worked for Central Vets since 2003.
“Eating off the floor is a big one,” says Vine. “We see tons of chocolate ingestions during this time of the year. Tinsel is big with cats. There’s a lot of times when tinsel, while it can cause a tummy ache, can get stuck in the intestinal tract. If that happens, it can be very life threatening.”
The Mineola Village Board approved the much-debated, revised plan for Bolla Market to build a gas station and convenience store at 449 Jericho Turnpike last week. The property was hotly contested at hearings in October and November due to the property abutting village residences and the proposal calling for a 24-hour gas station and convenience store.
The 2,250-square foot business will be open seven days, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week, according to papers obtained by the Mineola American. Bolla reps confirmed that this is the first non-24 hour Bolla Market station in the entire company.
Forty-two of CEO Harry Singh’s 85 Bolla locations have a convenience store. The Mineola site will hold six 2-sided gas pumps and one store.
Mineola High School senior, Jennifer Vasek and her mother have suffered for years from a rare disorder called Chiari malformation. Both have endured several brain surgeries yet still suffer from Chiari symptoms on a daily basis. They include headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and loss of balance. Chiari malformations occur when the base of the brain protrudes through the lower skull and touches the upper part of the spinal cord, creating numerous neurological symptoms. The only accurate way to identify Chiari is with an MRI of the neck.
Station Plaza Diner owner Nick Liakonis indicated he has submitted a lease proposal to Winthrop-University Hospital on Dec. 4 concerning the revamp and reconstruction of the “Welcome To Mineola” sign that sits atop his building at the
Mineola Long Island Rail Road Station. He said hospital reps asked in mid-September that he begin to draw up plans.
The location of the sign offers good exposure for the hospital if Winthrop secures the roof for rent and renovation. Winthrop is currently constructing a new $80-million, 95,000-square-foot diabetes research facility directly north of the sign, at the corner of Mineola Boulevard and Second Street, and expressed interest in the sign two months ago.
Carmela Solomon, who has two children in the Mineola School District, is sad to say that learning is not fun for her sons anymore.
“It’s gotten better but it hasn’t been an easy couple of months and I fear the standards,” she said to about 70 concerned parents and educators at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Mineola Middle School. Her fear: second- and third-graders will have to go to summer school.
A panel of teachers and administrators—Assistant Superintendent Patricia Burns, Middle School Principal Matthew Gaven, Jackson Avenue School Principal Cindi Gonzalez, English language arts developer Jodi Helming and mathematics coordinator Nicole Bartone — faced parents concerned about the new state standards and testing in the “common core curriculum.” Superintendent Michael Nagler moderated the talk.
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